Nov 25 - Dec 2 - 2012 (Air Canada Vacations)
My spouse and I were married at this resort in 2010 and decided to return for our 2nd Anniversary with another couple we recommended this resort to. We arrived and to our exact expectation, a bit of a wait for the luggage trolly and of course when it got there, we were all packed in like sardines, overcrowding to the point where the vehicle slammed and scraped on each and every speed bump.
Arriving at the Esmeralda lobby was a bit of a shocking disappointment. There were no smiles on the faces of reception. We approached Olga to check in, who just pointed her finger towards another employee, keeping her eyes on whatever she was already working on. The employee we were referred to had our names on a familiar envelope with our room already written on it. We had emailed the resort several times to request a room in building 90 - (where we had previously stayed) - our requests were very ignored. We were assigned building 92 and were told our room would not be able to enter the room until 3pm. We observed nearly every other guest who arrived with us, were escorted to their rooms-- including the couple travelling with us, which of course, took our luggage into their room.
Despite the inconveniences and our requests not being met, our room was manicured very nicely each day. There was this and that missing from the fridge - although we'd leave money on our bed every day as an incentive for the maids to take care of us. The rooms, bartenders, and waitstaff at the restaurants really did make this trip. Particularly Sandra - she was beautiful, attentive and made sure we never got to the bottom of our drinks without bringing another. And Hector at the Don Pablo - he went great lengths to ensure our satisfaction with our drinks, and dinner courses, we felt like royalty.
****IMPORTANT--- BEWARE: THE PRIVILEGE CLUB****
It was not until day 2 that this trip turned pretty sour. We were approached by an employee for what seemed to be innocent small talk - asking us if we were enjoying ourselves, and if we were returning guests and how our travelling couple were enjoying their stay. He brought us over to a table and gave us some sunglasses and the Bahia "Sun". He explained some "giveaway" which we looked at eachother and immediately knew what this was all about and we tried to back away. He pitied us into committing to a 1 hour meeting regarding a Privilege Club vacation package in exchange for a free gift, we just wanted him out of our hair so we let him put our names down for the next day.
The following morning we were tired, hungry and just down-right dreading this meeting - we were in no mood to argue and object to their offers. We tried to fox our way to the Jasmine restaurant, doing EVERYTHING we could to stay out of sight of these guys, but as luck would have it, we were tagged at the steps by the same guy.
We told him we were unwilling to go at this point and he stood there, staring at us - in this ... repulsive, drawn-back, belligerent stance, and has the nerve to say, "You just go - for me, so I get my points. You promise me 1 hour last night. But don't say to anyone I told you this."
Angrily, we fell victim to the pity - again. We went down the stairs into what you could figuratively describe a SHARK TANK. We were grilled with questions, benefits, perks, and sales pitches. We were taken on a tour of the SAME ROOMS we stayed in, and were brought back only to speak with the sales manager to object to his offers also. We got our free gift (a towel, 2 hats and a bag) and got out of there, exhausted and extremely upset at this point.
The remainder of the week was spent avoiding that corner of the lobby, and observing their same tactics in action with other unsuspecting guests.
One of them tried to rope in our friends and at this point we've just had it. We angrily demanded they stop their harassing and the representative spit some angry words at us in their mother tongue which struck laughter with the other representatives.
This was an absolute repugnance to us, and in result the Privilege Club has landed this resort on the bottom of our list for vacations and we will not be returning or investing in the Bahia Principe chain of resorts or its "affiliates" in the future.
If you are headstrong enough to ignore the daily harassing, you'll enjoy the benefits of this resort.